If you operate an online shop, or any ecommerce business really, you have a specific set of actions you want visitors to do. It might be to sign up to a mailing list, complete a contact form to register a sales enquiry, request a call back, book a service or buy a product. To track visitor progress through this path, we use Google Analytics Goal setting and Goal Funnels.
Why track the path
Tracking that path isn't what is important here though. What we are interested in is tracking the drop off between the steps. Every extra step we have is a place where visitors drop out and don't become customers. The difference between the number of visitors that reach a step an dthe number that continue to the next is called a conversion rate. Knowing the conversion rates along your funnel allows you to assess the effectiveness of changes and allows you to compare your conversion rates at each point.
How to create a funnel
A funnel is a set of steps that lead to a goal. The example we will use here tracks a visitor to a tea shop who came in to read a blog post. That blog post might have been found on a search results page, on a Facebook post or on a Twitter link for example.
To create a funnel you first identify the steps you expect people to take, e.g.
- Come to a blog post from a search result page
- Navigate to a product page from the blog post
- Click buy now and go to the cart page
- Enter the delivery and payment details
- See the order complete page
In your Google Analytics (GA) account you must add these steps to tell GA that this is a funnel to a goal you want to track, so you need to identify the URLs for each step, e.g.
To create the funnel you navigate to the admin area of your Analytics account. Here you click 'Goals' in the view column. This takes you to the goal setup screen where you can begin the process. In our example we are setting up a destination goal (destination will be /thank-you.htm). Enter the destination URL you have identified, and then switch on Funnel tracking. That allows you to specify the steps you want to see conversions between. At the bottom of this screen you can check you have entered the correct URLs by clicking Verify this Goal. That lets you see how often the Goal would have converted based on your data from the past 7 days.
At this point you have completed the Goal and Funnel setup and you must wait for some data to be collected before you can see anything useful in your tracking account.
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